Authorities are investigating after a baby boy was found dead in the back of a garbage truck.
City garbage workers made the discovery about 8:15 a.m. Monday in the 2800 block of Campbell Street, while on their regular pickup route.
Police said they got a call from the garbage crew, after they saw the infant's body in the back of the truck.
The Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office determined that the fetus was 29 to 34 weeks old.
"It is believed that this was a premature home birth," according to Sgt. Barbara Eckert of the Kansas City Police Department. "We are asking for the public's help in finding the mother."
This was not the sanitation crew's first stop of the day, so right now, police say they have no way of knowing where along the route the baby came from.
Danny Rotert, a spokesman for Kansas City, said the route mostly serves the east side of the central core of the city.
The garbage workers were doing curbside pickup at the time of the discovery, but police were unsure if the crews had picked up from any trash bins earlier in their route.
"We have actually called in grief counselors for our workers to help deal with this terrible situation," Rotert said.
Neighbors, too, were saddened by the discovery so close to home.
"It was just an incredibly sad event. I feel for the person who didn't have any resources, or didn't know what the resources were in the community, and this is how they chose to deal with their problem, that they obviously needed help with," neighbor Dia Matthews said. "Obviously, we have an innocent life that has been taken, and I think that somebody needs to be held responsible for it. But I think they obviously need help as well."
And as a reminder about those resources, in both Missouri and Kansas, parents who don't think they can care for a new baby are allowed to leave that baby with an employee at any medical facility or fire department.
In Missouri, one can also leave a child at a law enforcement facility with someone on duty.
In Kansas, the limit for leaving a baby, who has not been abused in any way, and guaranteed without prosecution, is 45 days after the child's birth. However, in Missouri the limit will soon be changing from five to 45 days. And from 45 days to a year, parents can leave the child but may have to go through the court system. However, prosecution is still unlikely.
If you know someone who was pregnant recently and no longer is, police say call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.
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